DO YOU HAVE A BRIGHT 10- to 14-year-old child or other young relative with a technical bent, perhaps one who is already a diver or snorkeller, or who simply shows a healthy interest in the underwater world?
Perhaps you are a bright 10-14-year-old, and if you’re reading DIVER your interests are apparent. Either way, Can A Lobster be an Archaeologist? is a book that should be of interest.
Twenty-three writers have contributed to this entertainingly written and informative recruitment publication from the Society for Underwater Technology. Making a sustainable career of the underwater world is always likely to be a challenge if you restrict your ambition to dive instructor or dive journalist, but as this book serves to underline, there is likely to be a healthy demand for underwater technologists and related practitioners in the future.
This book could catch their attention at just the right age.
The introduction goes a tad heavy on the advisability of avoiding a future based in some dreary office, and I suspect that more than a few of the 23 contributors have served their share
of time behind desks, but in the pages that follow the point is well made that on or under water is the place to be.
In fact one chapter in particular, by sea-level scientist David Pugh, paints a slightly chilling picture of a saturated future suggesting that future generations might have little choice.
The authors also include some names that may be more familiar to divers, such as Bob Cole, John Bevan, Garry Momber, Moya Crawford and Mike Seares.
Any diver with a passing interest in underwater archaeology will recognise the derivation of the title of the book – Bouldnor Cliffs off the Isle of Wight, where a crustacean lobbing flints out of its crevice alerted archaeologists to a Stone Age site on which they are still working today.
The book covers many other aspects of the sea, from movie-making and green-energy generation to fish-farming and robotics, but is generally subtle in its message that this is a world that might repay investigation.
It can be no easy task to pitch your writing at an imaginary 12-year-old if you’re not a professional children’s writer, but while there is inevitably a degree of unevenness of tone, the writers mostly do well in avoiding either talking down to their readers or making their subject too dry.
And the whole thing is brought together by Rachel Hathaway’s terrific illustrations, an example of which can be seen on the cover.
It isn’t all about diving, but I certainly picked up a lot of interesting facts from this highly recommended book, and can imagine it capturing the imagination of the right young reader.
Steve Weinman

Society for Underwater Technology
ISBN: 9780906940556
Softback, 152pp, £12.99